11:00 I’m settling in for the stretch run—and so are the Fullerton Titans. They’re up 31-30 on No. 3-seed Wisconsin.
11:01 Trevon Hughes just beat a Fullerton defender with a NASTY crossover move. That’ll give him an “and-one” opportunity. Show me a replay! Show me a replay!
11:01 Or a commercial. That’s fine too. Grrr
11:02 In Denver, George Mason is looking for some of its Cinderella magic. But the clock’s approaching midnight and the Irish have the focus of a team that was an upset victim a year ago.
It’s Notre Dame by 14.
West Virginia and Arizona are back underway in a one-point game. These are the three I’m going to describe down to the end.
Why waste a lot of time on UCLA’s laugher?
11:03 Please join me in wishing against overtime for any of these three games. I’m tired!
11:04 I just saw my first Jim Nantz golf commercial: “A tradition unlike any other...the Masters on CBS.”
11:04 I’d like to re-write that commercial: “A tradition unlike any other...Masters commercials with a Jim Nantz voice over during the NCAA tournament.”
11:05 That would have been a lot funnier around 2 p.m., I’m pretty sure.
11:05 Arizona just hammered home a dunk to tie the game in DC. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that one.
11:05 The building Wisconsin’s playing in is called the Qwest Center. Come on now, who spells Qwest with a Q and W?
11:06 WVU’s making my 7-10 pick look pretty good right now. The Mountaineers are just a difficult match up with all their shooters—and would you really want to coach against Bob Huggins?
11:08 “Paws and claws...antennas...and stuff in.”
11:09 Fullerton hasn’t gotten a field goal to drop in four minutes. In my not-so-expert opinion, long stretches without scoring don’t help you upset a top-3 seed.
11:11 Great hustle by Fullerton to get a loose ball and a timeout. Gotta love seeing bodies sprawled all over the floor—must be March madness!
11:12 The best part about a day like today? Knowing there’s just as many exciting games tomorrow. Not quite a marathon for me, but I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on all the games—and the potential implosion of my bracket.
11:13 Excellent out-of-bounds play for the Titans. Out of the timeout, they get a wide-open three in the corner and drain it. Those kinds of plays are the little things that win close ballgames.
11:13 That was an incredibly awful air ball for West Virginia. I was just getting ready to commend the extra pass to the open shooter in the corner. But if that’s the result you’re going to get, do yourselves a favor and scrap the extra pass next time, ok?
11:15 One quick glance from WVU and all of a sudden they’ve doubled their lead from four to eight. Good for my bracket, bad for Arizona fans.
11:15 George Mason’s in the most critical part of their game now. Down 14 with seven to play, they need to make a run right now so this thing’s close at the end. This is the stretch where the lead could become 20...or 6...in the next two minutes.
11:16 “The third-seeded Badgers are pulling away with their biggest lead of eleven.” Well put, Kevin Harlan. What else could I possibly type after that?
11:17 Great move by the Titans’ Akognon. He’s got 18 with that three-point play on a beautiful scoop shot.
11:18 Um, Trevon Hughes, why are we taking thirty-foot jumpers with ten seconds to go on the shot clock? Doesn’t Bo Ryan teach “get a great shot” and all that?
11:19 Breakaway lay-up for Trevon Hughes. I won’t complain about the quality of that shot. UW by 10.
11:19 I don’t get the Holiday Inn breakfast bar commercials. At all.
11:21 Irish have the ball and a sixteen-point lead. They need to take thirty-three seconds off the clock on every possession.
11:22 Good start. Even got a bucket out of that. The lead’s 18.
11:23 George Mason hoop. ND turnover. I guarantee you the Patriots won’t give up until the clock reads 0:00.
11:23 “The madness continues on The New Adventures of Old Christine.” I’m sorry, but don’t try and fabricate a connection between March Madness and the sitcom schedule you want more viewers for. That insults my intelligence.
11:23 End pet peeve/random tangent.
11:23 Offensive foul, Luke Harangody. I don’t have a problem with that—as long as you take the 33 seconds off the shot clock that you’re supposed to. But instead, you’re just opening the door for Mason. 15-point game, 4:15 to go.
11:24 Back in Omaha. I like the way the Titans keep attacking the paint against Wisconsin. They don’t appear intimidated by the Big Ten champions, and that’s why they’re hanging around in this game. The more you get to the rim in March, the better your record will be.
11:26 Great teardrop floater by ND. The lead’s back out to 15 and the clock is starting to tick toward midnight for Cinderella/George Mason. The Patriots’ last NCAA game was a national semifinal loss in 2006—it doesn’t look like they’ll reprise that magical run in 08.
11:27 With a 17-point lead, I’m officially advancing the Irish into the second round after a monster jam by Harangody. Assuming a UCLA win as well (they’re up by 32 at the moment), that’ll move my bracket to 12-2. Now if the W’s come through (Wisconsin and West Virginia)...
11:30 Um, Mr. Wenzel? Why are you talking about Duke assistant coaches scouting Budinger and Arizona right now?
“They’ll have to figure out a way to get through screens and guard Budinger.”
Did you notice the small detail that, oh, I dunno, that they’re down six? Let’s see if ‘Zona actually wins the game before Duke worries too much about them. Obviously, Arizona advancing is a possibility, but right now, WVU’s Alexander looks like a bigger and more realistic problem for the Devils.
11:33 Those pesky Titans don’t feel like mailing it in. The Wisconsin lead is down to eight with seven to play. I think the Badgers need to get the ball inside and use their size—none of this “live by the three, die by the three” stuff.
11:35 There we go, UW. It came off a rebound and not a post move, but Fullerton can’t send you home if you get a lay-up every trip.
11:35 The Badgers play great defense. There’s a blocked shot. I can’t wait to see them match up with Beasley and Walker. I’m sure I typed that at some point in the last three hours, but it’s my article, so I guess I’m allowed to repeat myself.
11:38 That was an insanely tough shot by Fullerton. Coming off a screen and falling away from 21 feet. The baseball boys aren’t going away, Badger fans.
11:39 Bad time for a turnover, UW. Bo Ryan’s not thrilled. (Or maybe he’s concerned about how he would guard Chase Budinger in a potential national title match up.)
11:40 WVU by seven, Wisconsin by eight. I’m smelling 14-2.
11:40 Arizona triple, and WVU’s up four. Never assume, Tim. You know better. Idiot.
11:41 Arizona triple, and WVU’s up one. See previous line for insult repetition.
11:42 Wow, the Mountaineers just got a triple to rim out and then fall back in. Ugly, but they’ll/we’ll/I’ll take it.
11:43 The most interesting part of DirecTV’s March Madness package is what I’m looking at right now. The entire country that was getting the Wisconsin game has basically been shipped off to watch WVU/Arizona.
So my channel devoted to the Badgers/Titans match up stays but there’s no commercials or announcers. That's because no one’s watching except me and a few other lonely souls with DirecTV.
So we get a motionless camera showing the action inside the arena—like the kind you’d see on the video scoreboard or something. As the action resumes, we get the announcers back. Whether that’s a good thing or not, you can decide for yourself.
11:44 Badgers by ten with the ball. Three minutes to play. I am not assuming anything.
11:45 Back to Bolerjack, Wenzel, Arizona, and WVU. Mountaineers get a stop (see: uncalled foul) and are clinging to a four-point lead with 3:20 to play.
11:46 Big shot WVU. How about a seven-point lead?
11:47 “The madness continues on The New Adventures of Old Christine.” At least it was a company-scripted line, since I just heard it again. That takes the sting off a little bit, because I like Gus Johnson too much to blame him for the bad segue. I have no problem whatsoever blaming CBS.
11:48 Josh Akognon has 31 points for Fullerton tonight. Against the best defensive team in the country. And the Titans are going to come up short. On Wisconsin. I’m 13-2.
11:49 That means we can devote our focus as the marathon concludes (12 long hours later) to the only undecided game: West Virginia 71, Arizona 65. There’s 1:36 to play and the Mountaineers have the ball. It should be an eight-point game, but WVU decided to foul an Arizona three-point shooter and make it interesting.
11:50 Here we go—take every second off this shot clock. Should be able to get under a minute.
11:51 And how about an offensive rebound? Arizona was knocked out in the first round last year by my Boilers and it looks like another first-round exit for the Cats. But I really shouldn’t get ahead of myself.
11:52 Joe Alexander hits the first free throw to extend the lead to three possessions. Now I can begin to get ahead of myself.
11:53 Special thanks to all of you who read through the entire MMMM series. I appreciate you taking the time to join my marathon, and I hope you enjoyed my description of the greatest sports day of the year.
11:54 Wisconsin wins. West Virginia wins. I’m 14-2 on day one of the tournament, and 12 hours after I sat down on the couch, the Mega March Madness Marathon is officially over.
I’m off to watch the rest of the Lakers game like any devoted basketball fan. No computers allowed.
Good night, everybody.